Simply Red

Live In London

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Details At A Glance

Category Music Video Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1998 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 119:14 minutes Other Extras Menu Audio
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (63:30)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,3,4,5,6 Director Steven Lock

Warner Vision
Starring Mick Hucknall
Andy Wright
Gota Yashiki
Ian Kirkham
Kenji Suzuki
Mark Jaimes
Wayne Stobbart
Tim Vine
Dee Johnson
Sarah Brown
Chris De Margary
John Johnson
Colin Graham
Case Super Jewel
RRP $39.95 Music Simply Red

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Automatic Pan & Scan MPEG No
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.0
16x9 Enhancement
Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.0, 448Kb/s)
English (Linear PCM 48/16 2.0, 1536Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles English
English For The Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    Simply Red - Live In London was recorded in September 1998 at the Lyceum Theatre in London. It shows off much of Simply Red's astonishing body of work, and shows it off very well. The majority of the first half of the show is comprised of newer songs, with the older classics making an appearance during the second half.

    Simply Red has a unique sound amongst today's mainstream music; their soulful, complex music sits somewhat uneasily in the Top 40 against the multitude of covers and rip-offs that comprise the majority of the Top 40 these days. Perhaps I am showing my age, but give me the soulful mellowness and subtle complexity of Holding Back The Years any day as compared to recycled trash like The Fugees or Will Smith.

    The track list on this DVD reads like a best-of compilation of Simply Red's greatest hits; Sad Old Red, Picture Book, Mellow My Mind, Air That I Breathe, It's Only Love, Never Never Love,  Broken Man, Ghetto Girl, Night Nurse, So Beautiful, Stars, Come Get Me Angel, Thrill Me, Come To My Aid, Infidelity, To Be Free, The Right Thing, I Won't Feel Bad, Red Box, To Be With You, If You Don't Know Me By Now, Money's Too Tight (To Mention), Holding Back The Years, Something Got Me Started, and Fairground, so sit back, relax and enjoy the show!

Transfer Quality


    This video transfer can boast a number of firsts amongst music DVDs. For starters, it is the very first music DVD released in this country which is 16x9 enhanced, and this shows in the quality of the video presentation. Secondly, it is encoded with automatic Pan & Scan information, providing a full screen image on 4:3 TVs if your DVD player is configured appropriately.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. As stated previously, it is 16x9 enhanced. Automatic Pan & Scan information is encoded onto this DVD.

    The 16x9 enhancement of this DVD really shows up just how important this feature is on DVD. This is by far the clearest and sharpest music DVD that I have ever seen. In conditions of reasonable ambient lighting, the definition shown by this transfer is remarkable, with minutae clearly visible in the background of shots that would otherwise be lost without 16x9 enhancement. The foreground images are also sharper and clearer than I have ever seen on a music video. It's not all bouquets, however. The superb definition shown during the majority of this transfer does diminish somewhat during scenes of strong monochromatic lighting. Fortunately, the lighting for this show has been done somewhat conservatively so the majority of the transfer is very well defined indeed. Shadow detail is passable without being remarkable. There are small amounts of low level noise that creep into the blacks at times, but nothing of any significance, and certainly nothing that I suspect the majority of you will even notice unless you are especially looking out for it.

    The colours were variably rendered. During scenes of mainly white lighting, colour saturation was quite strong, without being oversaturated. During scenes where one particular colour predominated, there was some colour bleed noted along with considerably loss of definition of the image as noted above. At times, there was also chroma noise noted within these large areas of colour. One very odd effect occurred occasionally when there were two areas of monochromatic light shining on the performers; at these times, the performers would take on a halo of blackness around themselves which looked slightly odd. I suspect that all of these colour problems could be put down to deficiences in the source material, this transfer being sourced from video rather than from film.

    This program runs for a total of just under 120 minutes, and yet has been placed on a dual-layer DVD. This is an excellent decision by whomsoever made it. Instead of trying to squeeze this type of programming onto a single layer DVD, the programme has been spread over two layers. This choice allows the MPEG compression to work optimally and results in the complete absence of MPEG artefacting throughout the entire transfer - no mean feat considering the highly dynamic nature of the programme material.

    There were no video artefacts seen at all during this presentation, and as this transfer was sourced from video, there were no film artefacts, either.

    This DVD is an RSDL DVD, with the layer change placed at 63:30, between Chapters 14 and 15. It occurs at the end of a song and is quite noticeable by the brief pause in crowd noise, but there really isn't anywhere else reasonable to put it.


    There are two audio tracks on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 5.0 and English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0. I listened predominantly to the English Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack, which was the default soundtrack.

    The lyrics were clear and easy to understand at almost all times, other than a few rare occasions where they became a little indistinct, such as during To Be Free.

    Audio sync was not a problem at all with this transfer.

    The music on this DVD is superb and immensely enjoyable.

    The surround channels were used in quite an unusual way with this soundtrack. Fundamentally, the mix was in stereo, which was replicated slightly time-delayed in the rear channels. There was some use of the center channel, but this was recorded at a considerably lower volume than is usual. This gave the overall mix a very "four point" faux-surround sound about it. Whilst this was certainly quite enveloping, it did take a little getting used to. Fortunately, there is a Linear PCM 2.0 soundtrack present as well on this DVD if this type of surround mix is not to your taste. I found both soundtracks equally satisfying to listen to.

    The .1 channel was not discretely encoded according to both PowerDVD and to my Denon Dolby Digital processor. Nonetheless, my subwoofer was not having a bar of this, and bopped away continuously throughout this DVD, adding a much-appreciated bottom end. Presumably this has something to do with the bass management of the processor in the absense of a discrete .1 signal, although I haven't noticed it doing this on other 5.0 encoded DVDs.



    This is 16x9 enhanced and the menus carry background audio.

R4 vs R1

    This disc is not available in Region 1.


    Simply Red - Live In London is a must-have for any Simply Red fan. The quality is just superb, both of the programming and of the DVD itself.

    The video quality is generally excellent, and benefits enormously from being 16x9 enhanced.

    The audio quality is good, though it does have quite an unusual surround sound about it that will take some getting used to.

    The extras are extremely limited.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna (read bio)
21st February 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Start SD-2001VNK, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO  subwoofer